Sidewalk Driver – For All the Boys and Girls (self-released)
From the opening hand-claps of "Radio" to the guitar grind of "Smalltalk," this album is full of fun and energetic power pop. I'm a little irritated that some of the best tracks on the album (see "Dancing With Her Friends" and "The Sun Shines") have some strong language in them, but likely fans of the music won't mind so much. However, there are plenty of other good tunes to make up for it.
The band embraces their 70s arena rock influences, while incorporating modern power pop elements as well. The album has received attention in the Boston area since its release last year, and I recommend giving it some love if you dig OK Go, The Killers, and driving with the windows down and the stereo blasting.
Active Child – Curtis Lane (Filter)
Active Child is the nom de tune of LA-based musician Pat Grossi. This short EP contains tunes that mashup shoegaze pop, synthpop, and blissed-out fuzz. It took a bit for me to warm up to it, but by the third listen, I had relaxed into the groove and was starting to get hooked on some of the melodies.
My favorite tracks are "I'm in Your Church Tonight," "She Was a Vision," and "Weight of the World." I recommend checking out this album if you dig Animal Collective, M83, and hammocks on hot summer nights.